Formed 2012 and from Sweden, 100 Years are an Alt Metal group with members from some well-known Scandinavian Metal and Punk groups. The line is: Roger Petersson (ex Merciless, Satureye), Pontus Andersson (ex Dia Psalma, Snakestorm, The New Mess, Entropy), Henrik Borg (ex Satureye, Entropy, Snakestorm), Magnus Borg (ex The New Mess, Entropy). This is their debut album.
The Medicine Knows My Name opens with a mutant folky feel that soon becomes a Black Metal tinged Rocker. It’s almost mechanistic drive along with the occasional intertwining guitar work make this a fairly interesting start to the album but it doesn’t leap out. Even so, as it does its thing you’re not reaching for the ‘stop’ button but it doesn’t move you to the edge of your seat – it doesn’t scream Alt Metal. Breath Of Summer fairs much the same although it has a bigger sound and a darker atmosphere – so far things aren’t great but they are not bad either – but somewhere within the surging mechanistic song hints are provided that suggest greater things are going to happen. Then Too Far From Goodness happens along and has more in keeping with Goth Metal, some nicely twisted melodies and over-dramatic vocals before it suddenly becomes epic in a most surprising way. From the enclosed atmosphere of the opening section it opens out into a transformed opus replete with a massive hook backed by ominous church organ styled keyboards. It doesn’t stop there – as soon as this has made its impression stabbing synths adorn an otherwise standard set-piece of Goth Metal. The breakdown reinstitutes the graveyard flavour before returning to the stunning hook. The instrumental Incendie keeps the Goth Metal feel going: more of those twin guitars creating the feel of elder times which then transmogrifies into a simple but effective Rock / Metal riff only to melt away leaving the soft tones of an electric piano (Fender Rhodes setting). It comes and goes like an incomplete thought, so tantalising for what it may have become. And now the song which marks the middle and is also the centrepiece of the album: All Grey. The song bursts into life immediately with a simple and energetic intent (Killing Joke in the mix), and it expands to something which uses basic melodic structure to great effect – while the drums keep mechanically beating out that insistent rhythm. The breakdown softens things up for a while but in the background there is an ominous shadow. You know that as soon as they can 100 Years are going to turn the volume back up and they don’t disappoint. This song marks itself above the others as an example of exemplary song writing and performance which focuses the album into a cohesive work. Calling For Daylight doesn’t entirely reach forward from this point but it keeps the flavour of Too Far From Goodness with a more raucous approach and the use of the instrumentation to create more than a wall of sound points to the fact that there is more in the future that this quartet can and will achieve. Now to the penultimate song: The Flood. Another massive start on this one which quietens down to an introspective mood which builds to the chorus seeing the group letting loose. This song more to do with regard to the music rather than the vocals and the intricate instrumental passage which sprawls the middle third of this composition takes hold of your focus. The sparse vocals work well against all of this providing a grandiose epic complexion to the song. The finale, Concrete Eden, has a slowly brooding intro which opens out into a dominating and claustrophobic monolithic riff. But this song holds the surprise of being, like the preceding song, greatly enhanced by abundant instrumental passages (apologies to Roger Petersson, there’s nothing wrong with your vocals, the group enjoy these expansive instrumental parts). For a song which lasts for near on eight minutes it goes by fairly quickly showing that 100 Years can write engagingly but as the final part of this album it works by the nature that it relies more on the thoughtful side rather than deferring to a stereotypical in-your-face ending. A fitting end to a debut which attempting to create something other than the predictable.
This is a bit of a strange one as song quality varies between standard and outstanding and the style is not so sure footed across the album. However, there are some gems here and a direction in the form of a narrative (although there is nothing that states this explicitly – might be in my head only). Probably because the album is up and down that it sticks in your mind with the less stand-out songs working as points on the way to the truly outstanding songs on this debut. 100 Years certainly have the musically ability although you have to wait until the third track to really gain this insight. Even so, this is a rewarding album which develops greatly the further through it you listen.
Formed 2012 and from Sweden, 100 Years are an Alt Metal group with members from some well-known Scandinavian Metal and Punk groups (Merciless, Dia Psalma, Entropy).